Newly elected members of the Manipur State Assembly takes oath in March 2017 (Image: PhualvaTimes)

An Introduction to MLA Local Area Development Scheme

by The Indian Iris (http://theindianiris.com)

The government had introduced the MLA Local Area Development Scheme from 2000–01 making MLAs able to recommend small development works of capital nature. Under the scheme, each MLA has the choice to suggest to the Deputy Commissioner of his/her district, to the extent of allocations given from year to year, to be taken up his/her constituency. Each MLA is sanctioned MLALAD fund of ₹2 crore per annum for their respective constituency by the central government.

Important Features:

1. The type of work under this scheme should be developmental in nature based on locally felt
2. The work should be such that it can be completed within one financial year and lead to the creation of durable assets.
3. Minimum of 10% fund allocated should be utilized for capacity building and training of unemployed youth in the state.

Works that may be taken up under MLALADS:

1. Construction for buildings for schools, hostels, libraries and other buildings of education instititions belonging to government.
2. Construction of village roads, bridges, public irregation channels and public drainage schemes.
3. Providing drink water to the people in the area by digging tube-wells or other works that may help in this respect.
4. Construction of public health care buildings, public toilets and bathrooms, footpaths, pathways and foot bridges.
5. Construction of common gobar plants, non-conventional energy systems/devices for community use.
6. Bus Sheds/Stops for public transport passengers.
7. Social forestry, farm forestry, horticulture, parks and gardens in government and community land.
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MLA Local Area Development Fund In Manipur

by Mohendro Nandeibam. This article was originally published by the People’s Chronicle (http://thepeopleschronicle.in) in May 2015 during the chief ministership of Okram Ibobi. From the article and the news snippets posted below, we can analyse how much the ground has changed over the last two years or so in the world of MLA local area development fund in Manipur.

Big Community Hall and Small Community Life:

Can we think of 60 production-cum-training centres with ₹300 crore within 5 years?

Manipur should not and cannot claim a place of honour and respectability in the comity of sister states in the North-East, not to speak in the whole country, as evidently substantiated by the World Bank whose view, is ‘Non-Development’ measured largely by the unchanged composition of products, unchanged factor-combination and unchanged technology. This is the dismal fate after 65 years of economic planning in the country. We could not undertake the exhaustive Investment Planning based on fair calculation of costs and benefits, merits and demerits and short term gains and long term loss. The recent trend of globalization and increasing liberalization has exposed the fundamental weaknesses of structural stagnation.

All these calculations explain the profound significance of Investment Planning; perhaps, as a beginning of investment destination. Economic Planning; Planning with a Vision and redefined objectives, ultimately boils down to the investment planning.

A careful examination of Investment Planning will tell you of a new culture of hard work, disciplined outlook, professional behaviour and unity in approach and action. The simultaneous combination of Autonomous and Induced Investments could be a convincing strategy for modern development with larger Multiplier Effect. Perhaps, this is what Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, refers to as Democracy, Demographic Dividend and Demand. A disciplined economic democracy with a strong public law can certainly make headway with skilled manpower (demographic dividend) and ensure effective purchasing power with ever enlarging scope of employment.

Right now, Manipur is unable to pick up. The financial base is too weak. Fiscal self-reliance is a far cry. The technical base is also too weak. The managerial capability is equally weak. There is dearth of professional knowledge.

We cannot run even a small enterprise on sustainable basis. Development administration is just a new input. There is conceptual confusion between general administration and development administration. While Outcome Budget has been the guiding principle of development administration in most of advanced states, Manipur is scrambling with most conservative financial instrument known as Outlay Budget.

As a result the investment decision is either weak or wrong; and inter-sectoral linkage is missing. Sectoral harmony and convergence is a serious issue. Every year we are experiencing a new phenomenon of lop-sided investment.

An interesting case of investment is the MLA Local Area Development Fund in Manipur. The (former) Chief Minister of Manipur (Ibobi) who is also Minister of Finance could express his satisfaction and said, in his Budget speech:

‘I am happy to inform the Honourable Members that the MLA’s Local Area Development Fund has been raised to Rs 1 crore for each MLA from ₹75 Lakh in the previous year. I hope the increased allocation will enable the Honourable Members to take up greater number of Constituency-specific development works’ (page 7, Budget Speech, July 2014).

Yes, MLA Local Area Development Fund is important, but more important is the way the fund is utilized; and it must be guided by the standard of outcome.

  1. Did the Honourable Chief Minister of Manipur make an attempt to get an Assessment Report of the Funds used in the past?
  2. How do we address the intra-constituency development constraints?
  3. Is there any visible understanding between the MLAs to achieve a Common Goal? Do MLAs in Manipur have a vision of their own constituency? What do they really like?
  4. What could be our guiding principle, either Expediency or Efficiency?

Let’s recall the hard fact of demoralizing experience of Mounting Rural Poverty (40 per cent) and Rising Unemployment in rural areas. Is it not rational and necessary to pay priority attention to the establishment of Production-cum-Training Centres, —at least one in a constituency to achieve the twin objectives of Employment and Skill Development? Within 5 years Manipur can have 60 such Centres with ₹300 crore. Is it not a better Investment Plan?

In China and Korea Village Economic Enterprises did miracles. Production was stepped up. Work culture could improve tremendously. Economic security could be ensured through Employment, Participation and Involvement.

Investment of ₹60 crore a year in Manipur without any specific objective and vision may have destabilizing effect. Because ‘ money which is a source of blessings to mankind becomes a source of peril and confusion unless it is controlled’. Easy money creates havoc.

Well, to-day the Community Halls, constructed under the MLA Local Area Development Fund, stand empty without any productive activity. What about the change in Community Life? How far the colourful Community Halls have changed the Community Mind, Community Outlook and Community Temptation? If there are no signs of change, what is the meaning of Big Community Halls?

At best, it could be a luxury in the island of poverty. Our issue is the disturbing Culture of Poverty, not merely the problem of poverty. The workshops and work sheds are temples of the poor. The training-cum-production centres in the remote areas could be a much better option of investment. The empty community halls convey empty messages. Is it not a nice case of gross misuse of scarce resources?
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Further Reading

Rhetoric and Reality of MPLADS

by Siba Sankar Mohanty
Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability

How much of impact has it made in addressing the local development needs? What is the awareness level of the scheme among common people? How have MPs utilised this fund? Should such a scheme exist?

Check the answers and arguments in the PDF:

http://www.cbgaindia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Rhetoric-and-Reality-of-MPLADS.pdf

Guidelines for an effective MPLADS as proposed in the Rhetoric and Reality of MPLADS


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News snippets:

‘MLA Local Area Dev Fund for Heirok A/C deprived’

Imphal Free Press, 7 February 2017, Imphal Free Press: Local Area Development Fund worth crores of rupee for Heirok constituency for the last many years has not forthcoming due to authoritarian style of working of the local MLA, State Councillor of BJP Heirok Ningthoujam Diten has alleged. Diten who is also a social worker was speaking at inaugural function of a newly built wooden bridge ‘‘Samhoubi Thong’’ at Sikhong Muslim village in Thoubal district today.

CM tables tentative plan outlay of Rs 3200 cr, MLA local area fund hiked to ₹1 cr

Sangai Express, 14 Jul 2016: Chief Mi-nister Okram Ibobi who is also in charge of Finance Depart-ment presented full budget estimates for 2014-15 in the State Assembly today. The tentative plan outlay of Rs 3200 crore would rise to Rs 4045.16 crore after un-spent balances of the previous year under NEC and NLCPR and amount transferred from CSS/CPS as Central Assistance to State Plan are added.

‘MLA Surchandra misuses local area development fund’

Hueiyen Lanpao, 8 October 2011: Yengkhom Krishnadas Ningshing Lup has alleged that Y Surchandra, MLA of Kakching A/Cmisused the local area development funds of the MLA which is meant exclusively for the development of the constituency. Speaking at a press conference held at Manipur Press Club, Mayanglangbam Shyamkumar, the Secretary of the Lup said that the MLA misused the MLA Local Area Development Fund and huge amount sanctioned from the MDS and PHED. This was revealed through the RTI. The MLA has also withdrawn an amount of ₹9,20,810 for the construction of a community hall in Khamlangba Ground under the name of Secretary Beneficiary Committee, Shyamkumar alleged.
Henglep MLA disappointed with ‘insufficient’ local area development fund

Imphal Free Press, 19 July 2015: Henglep MLA T Manga Vaiphei who is also the chairman of the MTDC had inaugurated a new community hall at Torbung Village, Henglep sub-division yesterday. The inaugural of the 100 by 40 feet hall was also attended by Henglep SDO Soimimlien as functional president. Speaking on the occasion, the local MLA said the amount allotted as the MLA Local Area Development Fund is too little for the entire constituency of Henglep. But soon, the Henglep sub-division will be bifurcated into two for which has been already approved by the cabinet. This will ease the taking up development work for the people, he said.

Manipur MLA invests LADF in education sector

Nagaland Post, 29 Jan. 2016: An MLA of the Manipur Legislative Assembly has declared that he would be investing his local area development fund for the improvement of education in his constituency. Trinamool Congress MLA Th Shyamkumar of Andro Assembly Constituency, Imphal East district said that he would be doing do the same as long as he represents the constituency. The annual allocation of amount for local area development to an MLA in Manipur is Rs one crore. This whole amount will be invested in the field of development of education in his constituency, the MLA declared.

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